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Please recommend a digital camera

If you read my LJ, you know I'm WAY too busy to be digging through the internet looking for reviews. So I'm hoping some one here can tell me. I need a digital camera with the following features. Does anyone know of one or know of a website that will tell me?:

*Small purse size digital camera
*Takes decent non-blurry pics in low light with no flash
*Good quality video - even in low light
*A flash that does NOT leave white reflective spots on people's faces
*$100 to $350 price range

Please post your camera or website recommendations.



I SWEAR by my Canon Powershot and have recommended it dozens of times. It's the best camera I've ever owned and I've had it for years now. I just bought my mom one for Christmas and she loves it too. I paid $179 for hers, but that is Canadian so you'll find it cheaper. Plus it comes in cool colours, I bought my mom the pink. :)
Thanks! Will read the online reviews for this now.
Oh, and if you want any camera to do: "decent non-blurry pics in low light with no flash", I suggest picking up a small tripod too. You can get quite small ones. :)
I've got a couple of those! But often I end up taking them by hand in my studio during parties.
I mentioned the other day I love my Olympus Stylus. You can get them in all different price ranges and they are fabulous. Bonus, if someone spills a drink on it the Stylus is weatherproof so it won't get wrecked. You can buy them all over the place but I used Olympus Auctions on Ebay and got a hell of a deal.

I have owned ALOT of pocket cameras. The nikon cool pics is the best. hands down. my 3 pixel nikon takes better pictures then my 10 pixel casio and cannon. I bought a newer nikon cool pix right before i went abroad.
Here are some pics I took with it. Everyone is always shocked to find out I used a point and shoot camera.

Beautiful! Have you shot any action pics in low light? How is the video quality?
As I mentioned in another post, your requirement that it "take decent non-blurry pictures in low light with no flash" is going to be a hard requirement to meet.

To be honest, I don't think you'll find a camera in the $150 to $200 range that will meet that requirement. (Of course, a lot does depend on exactly what your definition of "low light" is and how much light is actually there).

There are two ways to NOT have the flash leave white reflections on peoples faces:

The first is to use a diffuser on the flash. This is plastic or a gauze material that goes over the flash and filters the light, making it not so strong. The softer light is less likely to reflect. The bad news is that it also cuts the strength of your flash, which means it cuts the effective range, and can also mess up the camera's automatic exposure settings.

The other way to keep the flash from reflecting off people's faces is to physically move the flash away from the lens. This requires a camera with a flash attachment as oppposed to a built in flash. Even then, you don't want to mount the flash on the camera directly, but instead want to get a bracket that attaches to the camera body and mount the flash on that. That raises the flash high enough to avoid "red eye" and helps keep it from reflecting off people's faces.

It would help if I knew what exactly you needed to do with the camera. "To take pictures" obviously... but what kind of pictures and for what purpose?

Do you want to take snapshots to give the students in your class?

Do you want to take professional looking pics for the website or other promo materials?

Or, do you just need the camera for "fun" and clubbing and such?

The best quality pics are going to come from a digital SLR which is the equivilant of the old 35mm SLR camera. A "point and shoot" is really not going to be able to give you the kind of pics I think you want. A SLR is the camera with the removable lenses and flash attachments and adjustable controls.

I'd look for a Nikon D40. They *just* got discontinued by Nikon and there should be some deals out there. The standard lens is pretty good and it does come with a built in flash. The Nikon "speedflash" accessory flash is a very good attachable flash as well.

You'll spend closer to $400 just for the camera though, not $150 to $200.
It's definitely for fun and clubbing, so it MUST fit in my pocket or tiny purse. Secondly I like to take snapshots at pole parties (with the permission of the girls being photographed) to appear on my website. That's where the low lighting, no flash, spinning around a pole comes in. I have zero interest in professional cameras with removable flashes and such. Those won't fit in my jacket pocket at the club.
Ok, for clubbing and such I'll defer to the other people's recomendations to specific "point and shoot" cameras. My point and shoot is an OLD digicam and I'm not up on the current choices.

For snapshots in your classes, with almost any point and shoot you are still going to have a problem with low light and blur for no-flash photos and with bad flash reflections with flash photos.

You might find one camera that is slightly better then another in those areas but, frankly, those kind of photos are technically challenging and aren't what point and shoot cameras are designed to do. I think you may be underwhelmed or outright disapointed by the results in low light. No way to know until you try.

One trick with a point and shoot to reduce flash reflection is to tape a piece of light, gauzy material over the flash. This can be easily removed when you want. By putting a gauze material over the flash you can reduce the "harshness" of the flash and it should reduce the amount of direct flash bouncing off of people's faces and also reduce the red-eye effect. It's a simple technique and does require a little experimenting to get the best results. (How thick the gauzy material should be, how to attach it best, how much it reduces the effective flash power, etc).

Another trick to take pictures in your studio is to add more light when you want to take pics. Since it's your space, and you control the lighting, you could designate a time for photos and "bring up" the lights a bit or turn on extra lights, etc, just for the photos. If you can get the room brighter it will help the camera quite a bit.

Indirect light is best as opposed to a harsh spotlight. Turn on the overheads if they are indirect or shaded or add a couple free standing lamps with shades near the stage.

Granted, I know adding more light probably detracts from the atmosphere you are trying to create. But, if you limit it to certain times near the end of the session, and the students know why you added the light for photo purposes, it won't be that intrusive.
canon just came out with a pretty good HD video compact camera.. I'm thinking of upgrading my purse camera to it as well..